Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has reiterated her call on supermarket chains and convenience stores nationwide to step up and lead the way in phasing out the use of single-use plastics, especially those hard-to-recycle plastics such as sachets.
At the same time, De Lima encouraged manufacturers to find alternative means to lessen the use of plastic sachets in their products as they contribute heavily to the country’s garbage problem and pose great risk to the environment.
“The cooperation of everyone is needed to address this problem. All stakeholders must work hand in hand to save the environment and the planet that we live in,” she said.
In a study by environmental group Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) last March 7, it found out that Filipinos use more than 163 million pieces of sachets a day or 60 billion sachets a year, enough to cover around 130,000 soccer fields.
Products sold in plastic and aluminum sachets, such as shampoo, toothpaste, detergent and coffee, are popular among Filipinos, especially the underprivileged, due to their affordability and convenience.
In the GAIA study, it was also indicated that 60 percent of non-recyclable waste collected in several cleanup drives belong to some of the biggest manufacturing companies in the Philippines.
However, it continued, these plastic sachets, if not properly disposed, end up clogging waterways and drainages. They also contribute heavily to the worsening garbage problem in the country.
“This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately. We appeal to our local manufacturers to help save our ecosystem by finding other means to package their products,” said De Lima.
Earlier, the lady Senator from Bicol called on supermarket chains and convenience stores to include efforts against single-use plastics in their social corporate responsibility program.
In addition, she also underscored the need for these business establishments to prioritize the selling of healthier food to the consumers.
“The global battle against worsening plastic pollution is everybody’s fight. It is our responsibility to protect our environment from any harm, natural- or man-made,” said De Lima, chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
She also emphasized the need to launch a massive information drive to increase public awareness and education on the negative effects of single-use plastics to the environment.